How to apply for residence and work visas for Türkiye

Residence and work visas for Turkey
Updated 2024-02-24 18:58

A tourist visa will only allow you to stay in Türkiye for up to 90 days. So, if you are looking to stay in the country for longer, you will need to look into other options. The most obvious option for extending your stay in Türkiye is applying for a residence permit. And this is what we will look into in this article. 

In recent years, there have been a number of substantial changes in the country's visa policies, which have made applications for a longer stay more complicated. With that, if you are intent on securing a longer stay in Türkiye, several proven pathways remain. Let's look at them in more detail.

What is a residence permit in Türkiye?

A residence permit (known locally as “ikamet”) grants permission to stay in Türkiye for more than three months within a six-month period, allowing for activities such as settlement, work, study, or travel.

Depending on the type of residence permit you plan to apply for, you will need to provide grounds for your stay, which can be university admission documents, long-term accommodation rental proof, family ties proof, and more.


Up until quite recently, most regions in Türkiye accepted resident permit applications for tourist purposes. However, as of 2023, many major cities in the country have stopped issuing tourist ikamets for new applicants. The new restrictions have (most likely) been put in place due to the high number of expats settling in Türkiye following the Russo-Ukrainian War. As of 2024, whether the restrictions will eventually be lifted remains unclear.

Residency permit types in Türkiye

Short-term residence permits

A short-term residence permit is a permission given by the authorities, allowing foreigners who have a visa or come under visa exemption to stay in Türkiye for an extended period of time.

Short-term residence permits are typically issued for a period from six months to two years.

There are several grounds on which you may ask for a short-term residence permit.


A lot of short-term residence permits are given out for tourist purposes. The idea is that tourists who want to explore Türkiye further may want to stay longer and can, thus, apply for tourist residency.

To apply for a tourist residence permit, you will (in most cases) need to provide the following documents:

  • Valid passport;
  • Filled-in application form;
  • Health insurance for the length of your stay;
  • Proof of accommodation (a document confirming your accommodation arrangements in Türkiye, such as a hotel reservation or a notarized rental agreement.);
  • Biometric photos;
  • Application fee.

Note that the list of required documents may vary depending on when and where you are applying for touristic residency.

Once your documents are ready, you will need to schedule an interview with the Directorate General of Migration Management. Make sure to select the migration management office in the right location — the city or town in Türkiye where you plan to reside.

Good to know:

Dealing with the relevant paperwork, especially in smaller towns in Türkiye, may be quite complicated if you don't speak Turkish. For this reason, some expats choose to work with immigration agents, also known as “helpers”, who can assist you in the application process for a fee.


Note that when renting an apartment in Türkiye, you will most likely be asked to pay for the whole rent period upfront. If you are signing a lease for the period of one year, you will need to be ready to pay the whole sum of annual rent on the day you sign the rental agreement.

Real estate ownership

Short-term residency permits are also available to those who decide to make Türkiye their second home and purchase real estate in the country. Before 2023, expat residents could purchase property valued at over US$75,000 (or lower, depending on the area) to apply for short-term residency. However, as of October 2023, the minimum value of the real estate one must purchase to qualify for short-term residence was increased to US$200,000.

To apply for short-term residence based on property acquisition, you will (in most cases) need to provide the following documents:

  • Valid passport;
  • Filled-in application form;
  • Health insurance for the length of your stay;
  • Biometric photos;
  • A notarized and translated copy of the title deed (Tapu) indicating property ownership;
  • Property Valuation Report obtained from a certified appraisal company;
  • Criminal record check or a similar document from your home country;
  • Proof of financial means to cover your stay, such as bank statements, a letter of sponsorship, or proof of income;
  • Fee for the short-term residency application.

Good to know:

Purchasing property in Türkiye valued at US$400,000 or more is ground for applying for Turkish citizenship. Türkiye has also announced plans to increase this amount to US$600,000 in the coming years.


Türkiye offers avenues for retired expats to settle in the country, provided they fulfill a number of requirements. As of 2024, to apply for a retirement residency in Türkiye, you will need to do the following:

  • Be officially retired in your country of citizenship and present related paperwork.
  • Show proof of monthly income from a government or private pension in the amount of 26,000 Turkish Lira (close to USD $845). This amount will need to be transferred monthly into your Turkish bank account and exchanged into Turkish Lira.
  • You will also need to be in possession of a rental contract or own property in the same jurisdiction where you are applying for residency.
  • Note that all your documents need to be notarized and translated into Turkish.


Keep in mind that the exact amount changes frequently due to currency fluctuations. Make sure to check with the relevant authorities as well as expat groups in your area for any updates at the time of your application.

Other reasons

There are other grounds for applying for short-term residency. Being a student in Türkiye, attending a Turkish language course, transferring from a family visa, and more. Make sure to consult Turkish immigration authorities before applying for a short-term residency permit.

Long-term residence permits

Foreigners who want a more stable and long-term stay in Türkiye can apply for long-term resident permits. With the long-term residence permit, foreigners can live in Turkey for a longer period of time and benefit from a legal framework that facilitates their assimilation into the local population.

The two main types of long-term residence permits that Türkiye currently offers are the family residence permit and the work residence permit.

Family residence permit in Türkiye

The applicant for a family residence permit in Türkiye must be already in possession of a valid residence permit or be a Turkish citizen. The application process involves submitting the necessary documents to the Directorate General of Migration Management in Türkiye. The family members, upon approval, receive their own residence permits linked to the duration of the principal holder's permit.

To apply for a family residence permit, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Valid passport;
  • Filled-in application form;
  • Health insurance for the length of your stay;
  • Documentation proving dependency for parents or other family members;
  • Biometric photos;
  • Proof of accommodation;
  • Application fee.

The duration of a family residence permit typically aligns with the validity period of the principal residence permit. Renewal is essential before the permit expires, and the process involves providing updated documents to ensure continuous legal residence.

Work permit in Türkiye

If you are planning to live and work in Türkiye, you will need to secure a work permit. Keep in mind that working in Türkiye while on a tourist visa or touristic residence is illegal and comes with serious consequences.

To apply for a work permit and subsequent residency in the country, you will first need to secure a job offer from a Turkish employer, and the application process will involve both the employer and the employee.

The employer initiates the process by obtaining a preliminary permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and the employee then applies for a work permit through the Turkish consulate or embassy in their home country.

To apply for a work permit in Türkiye, you will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Valid passport and visa (if needed);
  • Job offer letter;
  • Diploma or professional qualifications;
  • Employment contract with a Turkish employer
  • Health insurance for the length of your stay;
  • Biometric photos;
  • Filled-in application form.

You can apply for a work permit once you are in Türkiye or via Turkish diplomatic and consular missions abroad. Note that the evaluation of properly filled-out applications takes approximately 30 days — provided the documentation is complete and correct. So, make sure to plan your time accordingly.

The initial work permit is typically valid for one year and can be renewed. Renewal requires proof of continued employment and updated documentation.

Useful links:

Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Investment Office: Obtaining a Work Permit

Presidency of Migration Management Work Permit FAQ

Tips for a Smooth Residency Application Process

Securing a residence permit in Türkiye can be a straightforward process with careful planning and keeping to best practices. Here are practical tips to ensure a smooth application process:

  • Understand different residence types: start by familiarizing yourself with the various residence types available in Türkiye. Make sure you choose the type of residency that aligns with the purpose of your stay.
  • Check if you are eligible: verify the eligibility criteria for your chosen residency type, considering factors such as the duration of stay and the specific requirements.
  • Prepare the necessary documents: start gathering the required documents well in advance. This may include proof of accommodation, travel insurance, financial statements, and any additional documents specified for your residence category.
  • Make sure your application is complete: check if you have filled in all the forms properly, as missing information can lead to delays and even a rejection.
  • Check processing times: research the expected processing times for your type of residence, allowing ample time for submission and potential delays.
  • Keep up with the latest changes: immigration regulations in Türkiye tend to be amended frequently. Make sure you have the latest information at hand before planning your residency application.

Useful contacts in your visa application process in Türkiye

If you have questions or uncertainties, reach out to the Turkish Embassy or Consulate in your country. They can provide valuable guidance on specific requirements and procedures.

Explore official online resources, such as the Directorate General of Migration Management's website, for the latest information and updates on visa procedures.

For complex cases or if you prefer added support, consider seeking assistance from immigration consultants or legal professionals familiar with Turkish visa processes.

Some embassies and consulates may conduct information sessions or workshops. Attend these events to gain insights into the application process and address any concerns directly.

Expat groups and forums in Türkiye can also be valuable sources of information. Search Facebook and other social media for relevant expat groups in your area. Here, you can often find personal accounts of hands-on advice for expediting immigration processes.

Remember, early preparation, attention to detail, and seeking assistance when needed are key elements for a smooth and stress-free experience.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.